10 Ways that Education will change in the next 10 years

Get qualified in days not years

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By Tim T Dingle BSc (Hons) PGCE MBA  CDO  Academy of Vocational and Professional Training Ltd

One of my true heroes is Peter Drucker and I love his quotation:

The best way to predict the future is to create it.

Having been in education, training and leaning for the last 28 years (and now as Chief Development Officer for The Academy Of Vocational and Professional Training ) I am involved in creating that future. I came across this morning   poll from Edutopia that asked:  What will online learning look like in 20 years?  And the results were:

Universal. Some type of virtual learning will be mandatory in all schools, and virtual schooling, with no in-person teaching at all, will be widespread.

33% (171 votes)

Prevalent. Online learning will continue to grow, though not every school will have it. Online-only schooling will enjoy greater popularity.

51% (264 votes)

Atypical. The challenges of online courses will restrict their usage; classroom learning will remain the primary place for education.

13% (66 votes)

None of the above.

3% (16 votes)

When I voted, I considered lots of possibilities and my answer was that it would be prevalent and thus continuing to grow, and will be growing in popularity.  This seemed to be the most popular answer.  As I considered this more, I asked myself what education would look like in 20 years.  I started teaching in 1981 and by 1985 we had word processors (the joy of early green screen Amstrads) and presentations were still done with colourful posters that were painstakingly made.  Teachers and students remember ‘Bandas’ (the smell, oh the smell) and Roneo ‘mass production’ via stencils. I used state of the art learning aides: video’s  (Betamax) of David Attenborough’s  Life on Earth were the highlight of the 80’s Biology teaching. I can’t remember when I got my first email address, but I can remember my first home computer in 1991!

So when I ask myself what education will be like in the next 20 years, I imagine it to be a little more advanced with some more bells and whistles with some early adopter teachers that embrace it, some that go with the flow and try to keep up, and some that are “old school”.  I do know a few things:  education is slow to change….slow is fast in education…and innovation & technology are useless unless the teachers are supported and encouraged to try it and use it.

This year proved to be one of great debate surrounding the future and necessity of the Learning Management System. Much of it boils down to whether employee learning should be controlled and tracked, particularly when much of workplace learning occurs through informal channels. Learning Management Systems can enable collaboration, knowledge sharing, and social networking.

So here goes: my top ten predictions for change in the next 10 years:


  1. The 21st century does not fit neatly into rows because we all need to be facing the same way!  I do a lot of stand up comedy and being on the stage is frightening for many. Allow the network-based concepts of flow, collaboration, and dynamism help rearrange education for authentic 21st century learning.


  1. It is true that foreign language acquisition is only a smartphone away or Google translate away on your iPad. See www.expresstrainingcourses.com . Time to get rid of those clunky headphones,desktops and monitors and do something fun and funky with that room. Make it a space for interaction and global connection.


  1. Hmm…how does this work? More precisely this one should read, let’s change our view and concept of what a computer is and does. Because computing is going mobile and over the next decade we’re going to see the full fury of individualised computing via hand helds come to the fore. See Diane Shawe’s blog’s on this! Due to improved infrastructure, slick mobile operating systems and smartphone market penetration, we seemed to hit a tipping point of readiness for mobile content this year. From mini-courses to collaboration to performance support, mobile learning could go mainstream in the near future. In terms of converting legacy courses, it will mean streamlining everything—paring down over-sized multimedia elements as well as implementing a ‘less is more’ philosophy. In terms of new development, designers will have to manage the limitations of a smaller screen and decreased memory capacity. When mobile learning hits critical mass, people of all ages and occupations will reap the benefits.


  1. There is no doubt that the 21st century is a 24/7 environment. And the next decade is going to see the traditional temporal boundaries between home and school vanish. Mobile Learning, anytime, anywhere, anyplace…The new Martini generation!


The 21st century is absolutely customisable. In ten years, the teacher who hasn’t yet figured out how to use tech to personalise learning will be the teacher out of a job. Differentiation won’t make you ‘distinguished’; it’ll just be a natural part of your work. Most learning will be done via tablets and phones and will happen everywhere.


  1. So many people have a fear of Wiki but in many ways Wikipedia is the greatest democratising force in the world right now. I know it can be wrong. It also challenges the Teacher as the expert.  If you are afraid of letting your students peruse it, it’s time you get over yourself.


  1. Books were nice. In ten years’ time, all reading will be via digital means. Maybe you like the ‘feel’ of paper. Well, in ten years’ time you’ll hardly tell the difference as ‘paper’ itself becomes digitized and a generation od Children will have better posture for not lugging around a ton of text books.


Gary Woodill, Ed.D., a Senior Research Analyst at Brandon Hall Research and author of The Mobile Learning Edge, was kind enough to contribute his perspective on the trends affecting Augmented Reality related to mobile learning.

According to Dr. Woodlill, “Augmented Reality (AR) is one of the most disruptive applications for mobile learners. It is an example of location-based services, where information is provided to you based on your location, and even the direction that your phone camera is facing. With that information, your smartphone can supply additional textual information about what you are looking at, or can blend computer generated objects with the video or still image on your screen.


  1. I.T. Departments as we currently know them will disappear… Cloud computing and a decade’s worth of increased wifi and satellite access will make some of the traditional roles of IT — software, security, and connectivity — a thing of the past. So the question is what will all those IT professionals do? Simple:  Innovate. Look to I.T. departments to instigate real change in the function of schools over the next twenty years. Dream, design and deliver!


Blended or hybrid learning came about because one eLearning course is often not the solution to an organisation’s or an individual’s learning needs. Until recently, blended referred to a learning experience that included both instructor-led and online self-paced components. But that was a long time ago in Internet Time.

Now that live synchronous instruction frequently occurs online and that opportunities for individualized learning abound, the definition of blended learning is expanding to include any number of strategies, from learning through a community of practice to mobile performance support. For example, someone might attend a workplace webinar on how people learn, then participate in a video-based Google+ hangout with a cognitive psychologist, and join a LinkedIn community of instructional designers to discuss the application of these ideas.

So  (in my humble opinion) it will be a very different in School in 10 years time and hugely different for learners. We will become genuine Life Long Learners served by technology and we will see fundamental changes for employers, employees and systems. Technology enhanced learning (TEL) has the goal to provide socio-technical innovations (also improving efficiency and cost effectiveness) for e-learning practices, regarding individuals and organisations, independent of time, place and pace.

Can’t wait.